Baring the Aegis: Hellenismos
Hellenismos, otherwise known as Greek Reconstructionist Paganism, is the traditional, polytheistic religion of ancient Greece, reconstructed in and adapted to the modern world. It's a vibrant religion which can draw on a surprising amount of ancient sources. Baring the Aegis blogger Elani Temperance blogs about her experiences within this Tradition.
What do you owe? And what do you own?
I am in debt. Even when I do not count my study loans, I'm chronically--but not deeply-- in the red on my bank account. I don't have credit card loans, however, and I don't owe money or goods to anyone. I have had a tough year, but it's slowly getting better. Although I work, next to getting an education, my income does not cover all my costs. I am extremely lucky, though: I have a working partner who will gladly jump in and cover costs until my education is done and I can get an actual job that pays the bills.
I don't like being in debt. It's against the spirit of Hellenismos--or at least the two were antagonistic in ancient Hellas. Debts were paid off at the Deipnon--the end of the month--and those who could not pay them became serfs to their creditors. It was one of the main ways a citizen could become a slave.
It sounds a bit harsh, becoming a slave because of a missed payment. Yet, is modern life any different? Am I not tied to all people, companies and foundations who pull money from my bank account on a regular basis? Will not strong men and/or women show up on my doorstep if I can not afford to pay my bills and take items I own to pay off the debt? If all else fails, won't the government take my freedom? Aren't all of us a little enslaved to a economy which requires monthly contributions for protection, huge debts for housing and education, and for an ever-increasing number of people; financial support from their government simply to eat and have a roof to sleep under?
Debt has become normal; most of us owe at least some money. In the current economic climate, it's hard to avoid, and if you do, call yourself lucky. I live in the Netherlands, where the credit card hasn't really made its rise yet, but I know that across the globe, many people live off of credit.
One of my Hellenistic goals is to be debt-free as soon as I can. I want to break even around the Deipnon, and pay off those study loans with as much money I can spare off of my pay-check after graduation. I don't want to be indebted to any person or company. It makes me feel enslaved.
The economic beast we live in is fickle. It's build on fear, false promises and an unsustainable ideal of global prosperity. Now the house of cards is collapsing, it's good to take a look at what you owe and what you own, especially if you're Hellenistic. If you lost your income right now, would you have a house over your head in a few months? Would you have a car to drive if you need one daily? Would you be able to eat? The economic crash is bad, but we will recover from it. When we do, some of the hot air that artificially inflated our economy, will be gone. Take it as an opportunity to start anew; to value what you own and pay off what you owe. We are our own people, proud citizens of the world, and should be enslaved to no one.
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